Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Super-sensitive and small: New MIT detector uses nanotubes to sense deadly gases

Image / Chang Young Lee
MIT researchers are designing sensors that use carbon nanotubes, shown here in middle and at top, to detect hazardous gases.
Image / Chang Young Lee

MIT researchers are designing sensors that use carbon nanotubes, shown here in middle and at top, to detect hazardous gases.

Abstract:
Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have built the most sensitive electronic detector yet for sensing deadly gases such as the nerve agent sarin.

Super-sensitive and small: New MIT detector uses nanotubes to sense deadly gases

Cambridge, MA | Posted on June 9th, 2008

The technology, which could also detect mustard gas, ammonia and VX nerve agents, has potential to be used as a low-cost, low-energy device that could be carried in a pocket or deployed inside a building to monitor hazardous chemicals.

"We think this could be applied to a variety of environmental and security applications," said Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and senior author of a paper describing the work published this week in the online edition of Angewandte Chemie.

Strano's sensor has exhibited record sensitivity to molecules mimicking organophosphate nerve toxins such as sarin: It can detect minute quantities as low as 1 femtomole (1 billion molecules), roughly equivalent to a concentration of 25 parts per trillion. "There's nothing that even comes close," he said.

Sarin, which killed 12 people in a 1995 terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway, can kill at very low concentrations (parts per million) after 10 minutes, so highly sensitive detection is imperative to save lives. The new detector is far more sensitive than needed to detect lethal doses.

To build their super-sensitive detector, Strano and his team used an array of carbon nanotubes aligned across microelectrodes. Each tube consists of a single-layer lattice of carbon atoms, rolled into a long cylinder with a diameter about 1/50,000 of the width of a human hair, which acts as a molecular wire.

The nanotube sensors require very little power--about 0.0003 watts. One sensor could run essentially forever on a regular battery. "It's something that could sit in the corner of a room and you could just forget about it," Strano said.

When a particular gas molecule binds to the carbon nanotube, the tube's electrical conductivity changes. Each gas affects conductivity differently, so gases can be identified by measuring the conductivity change after binding.

The researchers achieved new levels of sensitivity by coupling the nanotubes with a miniature gas-chromatography column etched onto a silicon chip smaller than a penny. The column rapidly separates different gases before feeding them into the nanotubes.

The new MIT sensor is also the first nanotube sensor that is passively reversible at this level of sensitivity. To achieve this, the team needed to decrease how strongly the nanotube sensor binds different gas molecules on its surface, allowing the sensor to detect a series of gas exposures in rapid succession.

Using a newly described chemistry outlined in a separate paper published in January in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Strano and co-workers showed that this can be done by coating the nanotubes with amine-type molecules, which donate an extra pair of electrons to the nanotubes.

The coating allows gas molecules to bind to nanotubes but detach a few milliseconds later, allowing another molecule from the column to move in. With a network of these reversible sensors, a gas could be tracked as it spreads through a large area.

The lead author of the paper is Chang Young Lee, a graduate student in chemical engineering. Richa Sharma, another MIT graduate student in chemical engineering, is also an author of the paper. Adarsh Radadia and Richard Masel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed the microcolumn technology.

The work was funded by the Department of Homeland Security under contract to the Federal Aviation Administration and MIT's Institute of Soldier Nanotechnology. Characterization facilities used for this work were supported by the Department of Energy. Microcolumn and detector development was funded in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

####

About MIT
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Elizabeth A. Thomson
MIT News Office
Phone: 617-258-5402
E-mail:

Copyright © MIT

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Imec Reports Four Percent Growth for 2013 Fiscal Year End —Continues to Accelerate Innovation Through Global Collaborations and Technological Breakthroughs in Nanoelectronics— April 24th, 2014

Multicapacity Microreactor for Catalyst Characterisation April 24th, 2014

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Return on investment for kit and promotion materials April 24th, 2014

Nanotubes/Buckyballs

Return on investment for kit and promotion materials April 24th, 2014

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Amino-functionalized carbon nanotubes act as a carrier for nerve growth factor April 21st, 2014

Effects of Carbon Nanotubes Studied on Pregnant Mothers April 12th, 2014

Sensors

University of Tehran Researchers Invent Non-Enzyme Sensor to Detect Blood Sugar April 23rd, 2014

Iranian Researchers Present New Model to Strengthen Superconductivity at Higher Temperatures April 19th, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Biologists Develop Nanosensors to Visualize Movements and Distribution of Plant Stress Hormone April 15th, 2014

Discoveries

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Return on investment for kit and promotion materials April 24th, 2014

Protecting olive oil from counterfeiters April 24th, 2014

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer gene segments in a living cell April 23rd, 2014

Announcements

Imec Reports Four Percent Growth for 2013 Fiscal Year End —Continues to Accelerate Innovation Through Global Collaborations and Technological Breakthroughs in Nanoelectronics— April 24th, 2014

Multicapacity Microreactor for Catalyst Characterisation April 24th, 2014

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Return on investment for kit and promotion materials April 24th, 2014

Homeland Security

Nanotube coating helps shrink mass spectrometers March 25th, 2014

Bionic plants: Nanotechnology could turn shrubbery into supercharged energy March 16th, 2014

Detecting Bioterrorism: Is Chemistry Enough? Los Alamos scientist addresses bioaerosol risks and detection March 12th, 2014

Colored diamonds are a superconductor’s best friend March 6th, 2014

Military

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission: Successful foray opens door to virus-like DNA nanodevices that could diagnose diseased tissues and manufacture drugs to treat them April 22nd, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Tiny particles could help verify goods: Chemical engineers hope smartphone-readable microparticles could crack down on counterfeiting April 15th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE